U.S. Troops Support War Crimes Tribunal
By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service
TUZLA, BOSNIA, April 4, 1996 U.S. soldiers are now supporting the international war crimes tribunal investigating alleged war crime sites in the Srebrenica area, a DoD spokesman said.
Units of the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, are providing area security, a liaison team, base camp accommodations, vehicle recovery and emergency medical care for the investigators, the spokesman said. The tribunal is investigating claims of mass killings and grave sites and other war crimes.
"We will not guard grave sites," said Adm. Leighton W. Smith, NATO Implementation Force commander. "We will not exhume bodies. We will not provide individual security." Smith said this is obviously an emotional issue, but he does not anticipate there will be any problems.
Support to civilian investigators is not new, according to Smith. It's been done in the British sector, and NATO officials expected support would be needed in other sectors as well, he said. This is the first time implementation forces have assisted the tribunal in the U.S. sector in northern Bosnia, a DoD spokesman said.
Smith said NATO forces will provide intelligence assessments and information about roads and logistics in the area. "If necessary, we can provide lodging for them in our base camp, which provides for their security at night," he said. "We can provide a liaison team for them that will have communications, and we will be able to respond immediately in the event that they need our help."
Support will be provided "based on a specific request, within our capability, and not to impede upon our basic military mission," the DoD spokesman said. This is in accordance with the Dayton Agreement and not an expansion of the Implementation Force's mission, he said, adding, "These are things we are uniquely qualified to do."